A nightly campaign coverage show launched on Donald Trump's Facebook page Monday night, prompting America to ask, for the second time, whether it's witnessing the beginnings of 'Trump TV.'
Variations on Monday night's broadcast, which featured an interview of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway by Trump advisors Boris Epshteyn and Cliff Sims, will air live on the Republican nominee's Facebook page every night at 6:30 pm ET leading up to the election. The online show, which Mr. Epshteyn described as "bypassing the left-wing media," will compete with regular network news broadcasts.
The live show, which comes less than a week after a live stream of the third presidential debate on Mr. Trump's Facebook page, has added to rumors that the business mogul intends to start his own television network in the event of a Clinton victory in November.
The likelihood that a Trump television network could ever get off the ground is debatable. Last week, Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner reportedly met with investors to discuss the possibility of such an endeavor. But establishing a network comes with high costs and numerous challenges, and would be even more difficult without the backing of a major media empire, industry experts say.
Some speculators, such as The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, have suggested that rather than launching a traditional television network, Trump could start his own multimedia operation in the style of Glenn Beck's The Blaze, which includes a website, radio programs, and a paid subscription digital television network.
If successfully launched, a Trump network could have a lasting effect on American politics, as The Christian Science Monitor reported last week:
The launch of a Trumpian network would be unlikely to dramatically alter the already highly polarized media landscape, media observers say. But it could broaden national dialogue by giving an enduring voice to the largely white, working-class, far-right demographic that feels ignored by the media and political leaders, and which Trump's campaign has brought into the spotlight.
In other words, says Matthew Baum, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., it could ensure that issues championed by Trump – illegal immigration, US job loss due to global competition, how to fight ISIS – don't fade out of mainstream discourse anytime soon.
But despite rumors, the Republican nominee has previously said that he has "no interest" in starting his own media company. The hosts of Monday night's broadcast similarly denied that the show marked the launch of Trump TV.
The Facebook broadcasts are simply a way to motivate Trump supporters in the weeks leading up to the election, said Mr. Sims: "[I]t would be malpractice on our part if we didn't utilize these massive online platforms that he has."